The one-act comedy, which features madcap characters, mistaken identities and surprises lurking in every corner, is being co-directed by Amberly Plourde and Maren Coates. Both women were raised in Fort Macleod and now teach drama to young kids. Their theatre experience also includes playwriting, scenic painting, dialect coaching, stage managing, make-up artistry, prop making, sound operating and costuming.
“We’ve been talking about doing a show at the Empress for a couple of years and this summer things fell into place,” says Coates. “We both grew up performing here and we both have a great love for our community. We wanted to give back to that community and the best way we knew how to do that was by sharing our love of theatre.”
The play features struggling artist Brindsley and his fiancé Carol who decide to host a party for a deaf millionaire in the hopes that he’ll purchase some of Brindsley’s sculptures. Just before the guests arrive, the main fuse blows, plunging the flat into darkness. Only the audience can see the action that ensues in the dark.
“Because you can’t do a play entirely in the dark, playwright Peter Schaffer introduced the unique idea of inverse lighting,” explains Coates. “When the stage lights are on, the characters behave as if they are in the dark. When the stage lights are off, the characters behave as if they are in the light.”
Black Comedy is known for its imaginative and clever writing. “The characters are brilliant — they are very easy to both love and despise,” says Plourde. “The humour is face paced, there’s lots of slapstick. We also loved that it was a British comedy and that it was set in the 1960’s. It’s truly a cocktail of our favourite things.”
The eight-person cast of Black Comedy was recruited from southern Alberta and includes new faces mixed in with a few familiar ones. “We’ve come to depend on them for more than just the acting, and they’ve always pulled through for us,” Plourde continues. “We can’t say enough good things about our wonderful cast!”
Black Comedy runs at 7 p.m. on July 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22, in addition to a 1 p.m. matinee July 22.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and kids, and are available at www.macleodempress.com, by calling
403-553-4404 (toll-free at 1-800-540-9229), or at the Box Office on Main Street.
For more information, contact the Empress Theatre at 403-553-4404 or [email protected].